Eagle records sales tax growth for early 2015
EAGLE — It’s been years since the town of Eagle has reported a double digit increase in sales tax receipts together with a double digit figure for new residential building permits.
But maybe 2015 will be the year that breaks the pattern.
For the first quarter of 2015, Eagle recorded an 11.6 percent increase in sales tax collections and issued five new residential building permits. Additionally, five other residential permits were pulled at the end of 2014 for work that is actually progressing this year.
“I am not going to be pulling out the pom poms until we have a few quarters in a row like that,” said Eagle Town Manager Jon Stavney, “and we believe we are on track for 30 new residential building permits this year and we haven’t had a 30-building permit year since 2008.”
That was also the year the Great Recession hit and Eagle’s sales tax started a downward dive. While receipts dropped only 1 percent in 2008, by 2009 the town recorded a 13 percent drop in sales tax revenues.
The decline continued in 2010 with a 4 percent drop — totaling an 18 percent decline in just three years. Since then, the town has seen modest increases in sales tax collections but still hasn’t reached its pre-recession totals.
Collections by area
During the first three quarters of 2015, Eagle collected $791,402 compared to $709,331 during the same period of time in 2014. The Market Street area — including City Market, which is Eagle’s largest sales tax generator — produced 37 percent of the town’s sales tax. Additionally, the Market Street district recorded a 5.8 percent increase in sales taxes.
The Chambers Avenue business district produced 25 percent of the town’s sales tax and saw a 22 percent increase. The “other areas” business district generated 26 percent of the town’s first quarter sales taxes and saw a whopping 82 percent increase compared to last year.
The other areas business district includes the only retail marijuana operation currently in Eagle. In addition to collecting sales tax on retail marijuana sales, Eagle charges a $5 per transaction occupation tax on retail marijuana sales, and according to Stavney, that tax is on track to generate more than $100,000 in 2015.
“It is a significant contribution but it isn’t like it’s the only thing we are hanging our hats on,” Stavney said.
Rounding out the collections by area, downtown Eagle produced 6 percent of the towns sales tax collection while the Eagle Ranch area provided 4 percent. The U.S. Highway 6 corridor contributed 3 percent of the total sales tax collections.
Collections by Category
When broken down by category, retail sales recorded Eagle’s biggest sales tax jump with a 39.6 percent jump. Food sales increased by 9.2 percent and restaurant/bar collections increased by 7.5 percent. Motels/hotels reported an 18.9 percent increase, in part because Vail Resorts contracted with one of Eagle’s lodges to provide employee housing during the ski season.
Building materials, liquor sales, utilities and auto repair/parts operations showed sales tax collection drops during the first quarter.
Staff writer Pam Boyd can be reached at pboyd@eaglevalleyenterprise and 970-328-6656, ext. 4.
Among Vail’s volunteers, we tracked down Bob “Buckwheat” Buckley, Tony White and Brooke Franke Gagnon. They all said it was tough, that they loved it and suggested that if you try it you’ll love it too.